Pakistan police issued a stern warning Sunday regarding unauthorized gatherings following a call from the incarcerated former prime minister Imran Khan's party to protest alleged electoral manipulation in the recent polls.
The majority of seats were won by independent candidates, many of whom are affiliated with Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party, thwarting the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) bid for a ruling majority, backed by the military.
Despite PTI's claims of potential victory if not for electoral fraud, the country faces a period of political ambiguity as different parties negotiate possible alliances.
Suspicions arose because of a mobile phone blackout on election day and delays in result tabulation, suggesting military intervention favoring the PML-N.
PTI leaders, denouncing subtle election manipulation, called for peaceful protests, prompting authorities to enforce Section 144 orders, prohibiting public assemblies. Police forces in Islamabad and Rawalpindi issued warnings against unlawful gatherings, with preparations made for potential unrest in Lahore.
PTI's triumph in the elections, despite a crackdown on campaigning and candidates running independently, resulted in independents securing 101 seats, followed by PML-N with 75, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with 54, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) with 17.
However, with no party holding a clear majority, the nation's political future remains uncertain.
PTI asserted a popular mandate for forming the government, while speculation points toward a coalition between PML-N and PPP, former allies who ousted Imran Khan's government in 2022.
Pakistan's military chief urged unity among politicians, emphasizing the need for stability in a country grappling with division and uncertainty.
Pakistan's political landscape continues to be influenced by the military, despite civilian-led governance attempts. Sharif's PML-N, despite claiming victory, faces the challenge of forming a government through negotiations with rivals and independent candidates.
ImranKhan, barredfromcontestingelections because of legal issues, remainsembroiled in multiple legal battles, includingconvictionsfortreasonandcorruption.